Fairfax says its move is part of a plan to develop “national centres of expertise” for world, features and business pages on its nine daily newspapers. More generic pages such as the weather and television pages could follow.
Last year, New Zealand Herald publisher APN New Zealand cut 70 sub-editors in an out-sourcing move. APN said at the time it wanted to centralise the sub-editing of all its print titles with Pagemasters, which hired up to 50 people.
Senior Cabinet minister and Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton expressed surprise the latest round of lay-offs had come at a time of growth in regional economies.
“It doesn’t make sense that services are being reduced in centres where local GDP is much higher than it was in the past,” he said.
In a statement entitled “UnFairfax should keep subeditors in local communities,” Green MP Sue Bradford says Australian-owned Fairfax has a journalistic responsibility to put local jobs ahead of short term cost-cutting.
Ms Bradford says the proposal was bad for workers, who would be asked to reapply for their jobs in a different city, but also hurt local communities who relied on local news for their “strength and wellbeing”.
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